It’s easy to be thankful for the obvious blessings in life – family, friends, food, shelter, health, opportunity, prosperity, and good work, but not as easy to be grateful for the lack of any of these, or for hard times. It may be though that hard times, lack, pain, affliction, distress, and disaster are sometimes what we most learn from, what gives us lessons we need to understand, what most broadens our sense of compassion, and what develops our gratitude attitude muscle.
In the astonishing true story told in Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, the author and her Dutch Christian family were persecuted by the Nazis for helping many Jews escape the Holocaust by hiding Jews in their home. The ten Boom family was stripped of everything, separated, and imprisoned, some of them dying in the process. Eventually Corrie and her sister were sent to a concentration camp where they received appalling treatment in horrific living conditions.
The beds in which they and many other women slept were crawling with bedbugs, and Corrie’s skin was scabbed over in bites. Although at the time she was almost despairing, it was because of the fear of being bitten that the guards stopped doing their evening checks of their bunker. This singular reality was what allowed Corrie to spread her faith to others, strengthening them and herself as they were able to gather in forbidden prayer – their only respite and hope.
When she found little else to be thankful for, Corrie was finally immeasurably thankful for the bedbugs.
Surely, we all at some time or other have some kind bedbugs in our lives that we can be thankful for, along with the flowers. Have a beautiful Thanks-giving time.